By Kristi Nixon

DES MOINES — The Saint Ansgar girls’ shuttle hurdle relay team of Sarah Wagner, Kennedy Schwiesow, Bri Minnis and Aspen Falk qualified for the Class 1A final with the fifth-fastest time on Thursday, May 18, running a personal-best 1 minute, 9.83 seconds.

St. Ansgar senior Bri Minnis clears the first hurdle during her leg of the Saints’ shuttle hurdle relay, which qualified for Saturday’s final. EJ Photo/Kristi Nixon

Running the fifth of six heats, the Saints won that heat and had a faster time than any team in the final heat, setting off a celebration.

“We got done, I was immediately excited because we got a PR,” anchor Aspen Falk said. “My dad said we were either fourth or fifth and had to wait for the last heat. We saw the time, and I got excited because we know we’re going back.”

The Saints finished sixth a year ago with the same quartet returning. They also won the indoor state title in the event.

Lead-off runner Sarah Wagner said the team had a good beginning to the race.

“I think we had a really good start today,” Wagner said. “I felt good over all of the hurdles except the last one, I knocked it a little. (Going back) It’s great.”

Even though the group is back, there were still some nerves.

“I was a little nervous at first at the gun, but once I got over I just ran and didn’t hear anyone,” senior Kennedy Schwiesow said. “It was fun watching the last two finish out. We all expect to do really well. We wanted to do our best, and our time this year was better than our time last year, so we have high expectations for what we could do and get it done.”

Falk added, “I was a little nervous right away, but it’s weird because no one else has gone yet. I was like, ‘oh, this is happening right away?’ Once I started, it was habit, so it felt pretty good.”

Minnis, running the third leg, was particularly excited because it was the cleanest race she’s had.

“Usually I bump hurdles, but I didn’t (this time),” Minnis said. “This is our PR, and we hope to possibly beat the school record this year. We’ve got a little work to do before Saturday. But, anything is possible.”

According to Schwiesow, the school mark is 1:08.2 set in 2011.

“All I can hope for is we do our best, whatever happens, happens,” Falk said. “Always have that goal of the school record. Even if we don’t get that, it’s all right, we have our best time. All we can hope for.”

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